The NBA’s regular season has come to an end, so naturally, we can expect the league to announce the awards any second now, with everybody having their say on who should or shouldn’t be rewarded after the first 82 games of the year.
Coaching is one of the game’s most critical aspects, and not even the greatest superstars in the world can make it on their own if they don’t have a well-prepared guy pulling their strings in the sidelines and making them play for a system.
This year, we’ve seen several coaches make great strides with their teams and making the most of their potential, so we’re set to witness one of the closest votings we’ve seen in years to try and determine who the best coach of the year was.
Today, we’re going to rank our picks, not saying that this is going to be the actual order, but letting you know who we believe should be among the league’s top 5 coaches of the year.
Honorable Mention: Mike D’Antoni
5. Quinn Snyder
The Utah Jazz looked doomed to be out of the playoffs after Gordon Hayward decided to sign with the Boston Celtics and Rudy Gobert fell down with a knee injury, but this team’s late push made them climb all the way to the 4th seed in the Western Conference, mostly because of their home court dominance.
Snyder made some bolds move throughout the year like handing Mitchell and Ingles most playmaking duties through key stretches of the games, as well as letting Rodney Hood walk away. Also, when Gobert’s on the floor, the Jazz leads the league in defensive efficiency, while coach Snyder finally found the way to share the wealth and have a balanced offense.
4. Dwane Casey
Maybe Casey should be higher in this list considering he led the Toronto Raptors to the 1st seed in the Eastern Conference after most people just thought the team was going to start from scratch, but having a couple All-Stars on his team and a fully healthy roster throughout the entire campaign may hurt his chances a bit.
Nonetheless, he’s built a stronger team on a yearly basis and the Raptors’ second unit is the best in the league by a long shot. Casey managed to find a way to balance scoring without giving up on his defensive identity, while he’s finally found some sharpshooting from beyond the three-point line.
3. Terry Stotts
What Terry Stotts has done with the Portland Trail Blazers is highly respectable, as he’s made it one of the hardest teams to beat on their own court, with Jusuf Nurkic providing the rim protection they had craved so desperately for years while their backcourt handles most of the scoring duties.
The Blazers are the team nobody wants to face in the playoffs, and he found a way to thrive despite being the team that makes less passes in the whole NBA, making most of their damage in isolation sets. Still, their offense doesn’t look static at all, the team looks committed, and Stotts has been outstanding to close out games all season long.
2. Brad Stevens
Brad Stevens keeps proving that he’s one of the best basketball minds in the world despite his youth, leading Boston to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference despite Gordon Hayward’s season-ending injury on the very first game of the season, constantly making adjustments and finding ways to win despite not having him or Kyrie or Smart through key stretches of the season.
Boston’s top-notch defense definitely gives them a lot of hope in the playoffs despite Irving’s loss, while coach Stevens has made a remarkable job developing young talents of the likes of Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Nobody’s giving the C’s a shot, but you should never sleep on their top-tier defense.
1. Brett Brown
We’re not saying Brett Brown is going to win the COY, but he definitely should be among the top 3 in votes. This guy went through it all with the young and lousy Sixers, trusted his youngsters with a lot of runs and established a true system despite all of the critics stating that they were never going to be competitive if they flat out tanked throughout seasons.
The Sixers are 3rd in the East and rode a 16 game winning streak to the playoffs, have one of the best defenses in the league anchored by Embiid and a very compact second unit that has allowed them to keep and increase leads all season long, and this team’s looking more and more like a dynasty on the making. On a side note, let’s not forget Philly won 10 games a couple of years ago, and they won 52 this season.